Kristen Ries, Pioneer in Utah AIDS Care, To Address Med School Freshmen at White Coat Ceremony

Kristen Ries, Pioneer in Utah AIDS Care, To Address Med School Freshmen at White Coat Ceremony

Aug 18, 2003 6:00 PM

Kristen Ries, M.D., a pioneer in the treatment of AIDS and HIV-infected patients in Utah and professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah, will address the U medical school Class of 2007 at the annual White Coat Ceremony Aug. 22.

The ceremony, in which students are presented with their first white coats and recite the Hippocratic Oath to mark the beginning of their medical education, will be attended by 102 freshmen, their families and friends, and medical school faculty and administrators.

A. Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health sciences and medical school dean, will open and close the ceremony.

Ries, president of the medical staff of University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics and chair of the U Health Sciences Center Ethics Committee, has been honored locally and nationally for her work as a physician advocate for AIDS patients.

She moved to Salt Lake City and treated her first AIDS case in 1982, just a year after the disease was identified. In her private practice over the next 11 years, she treated more than 1,000 people with AIDS/HIV.

Her work with this patient population has earned her a special award from the Salt Lake County Health Department and a community service award named in her honor from the gay community of Salt Lake (both 1987); the humanitarian of the year award from the People with AIDS Coalition of Utah (1993); and a citation presented in Washington, D.C., on AIDS Awareness Day in 1994 from the Department of Health and Human Services' Health Care Financing Administration. She was among 20 recipients from 16 states--12 organizations and eight individuals--to be so honored.

Ries has been recognized as physician of the year by both the Utah Academy of Physician Assistants and the Utah Medical Association.

She joined the full-time U of U medical school faculty nine years ago as professor of internal medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Widely published and active in numerous professional organizations, Ries has given more than 200 invited presentations to physicians in various medical specialties, other health professionals and civic, church, and school groups. She is a graduate of the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania.

This year's U medical school freshman class was selected from 1,117 applicants and includes 44 women and 14 minority students, including eight from groups recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges as under-represented in the health professions. These include African Americans, American Indians, Mainland Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, and Native Hawaiians.

The White Coat Ceremony was initiated in 1993 by Arnold P. Gold, M.D., of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and has become a tradition at most U.S. medical schools.

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